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Need to buy or sell a 'green' home?

If you're a baby boomer looking for a green home to buy or if your home has green features and you want to sell it, some realtors are now receiving training in how to promote energy-efficient and green features in homes and buildings. They're called ecobrokers.

Green House Sunshine_kitchen-remodel A story on National Public Radio's Marketplace, "Greening Up Homes for Sale," described Monique Carraba's efforts to sell an 1,800- square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath home for $999,000. The home is an eco-friendly renovation in Culver City, a small town surrounded by Los Angeles.

Carraba, a certified ecobroker, received training through a Colorado-based company called EcoBroker International. To earn the certificate, Carraba paid $395 for three days of course work and testing. She learned about items such as asbestos, solar panels, and so-called "green mortgages."

The National Association of Realtors also offers a green certification for ecobrokers.

Among the features of the Culver City home, which had a $300,000 green upgrade, are:

  • An on-demand water heater.
  •  A 50-year recycled rubber roof made out of recycled tires.

  • Energy-efficient air, heat, windows, and appliances.

  • Insulated water pipes.
  • Compact flourescent lighting.
  • Formaldehyde-free cabinets.

If you decide to work with en ecobroker, be sure to realize that they're realtors with some information about green housing. They're not trained environmental scientists. Ecobrokers don't have indepth knowledge about green products nor are they able to certify houses as green.

Jim Nicolow, an architect and a blogger for Marketplace's "Greenwash Brigade," said in the story that the ecobroker program is a step forward for environmentalism, but a definition is needed on what an "eco-friendly" home is.

Copyright 2008, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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